Use the Downturn to Tap into High-calibre Labour Pool, Automotive Retailers Urged

26 April 2012

The economic downturn is an opportunity for automotive retailers to drive up the quality of salespeople in the industry, it has been claimed.

Use the Downturn to Tap into High-calibre Labour Pool, Automotive Retailers Urged

Rising graduate unemployment has created a pool of high-quality potential employees, according to automotive specialist Coachworks Consulting.

But it is a resource that will go largely untapped unless franchises improve recruitment methods and the sector as a whole tackles the stigma attached to car sales as a career.

International consultancy Coachworks believes retailers often employ salespeople with limited potential because the selection process is flawed – an oversight that costs franchises money.

Karl Davis, Managing Director at Coachworks, said: “The fact that car sales isn’t seen by enough people as a desirable career means you often see an under-performing salesperson from one retailer moving with little trouble to another one.

“The issues caused by a lack of quality candidates are then made worse by selection procedures that can be pretty shoddy.

“In many cases the receipt of a poor CV and the completion of an ill-prepared interview results in an offer of employment.

“But what sort of message does this send out? How can a job be viewed as the entrance to a fulfilling and credible long-term career if the recruitment process is so slack?

“Taking on the wrong people costs retailers money in lost sales and the need for intensive training further down the line.”

A quarter of 21-year-olds who graduated last year are unemployed, and the Office for National Statistics has found that 36 per cent of recent graduates are in a lower-skilled job compared to 26.7 per cent in 2001.

Mr Davis said: “With so many graduates looking for work or on low wages, it should be much easier to attract high-calibre applicants with a job that could earn them £40,000 a year and comes with a car.

“As it is, it’s a struggle to hire a team of eager, willing and capable salespeople. That’s partly because car sales still has a certain amount of stigma attached to it.”

Mr Davis called on the RMI and the SMMT to combine resources to attend job fairs to sell the sector as a career choice.

And he urged retailers to work on reducing staff turnover and to use motivated existing employees to encourage other high-calibre jobseekers to join the business.

Coachworks has produced a White Paper on how to fill vacancies with the right people.

Hiring for Growth: How to Recruit High-quality Salespeople is available as a free download from the home page.

Back to News Stories